When you lose a person who you love, there are so many feelings that naturally emerge. It might feel hard to hold back tears, stay focused on your daily tasks or to stay closely connected with the people in your life. You might feel powerless and might even be wondering how you could have prevented your loved one’s death. Whether the loss was sudden or anticipated, you might be struggling to make sense of how and why it happened. You may be experiencing feelings of emptiness or isolation.
Some people will find themselves questioning the meaning and value of life and what happens after death? Are you uncertain if you can or even want to navigate a life without your loved one in it? Do you wish you could find a way to celebrate your loved one’s memory, accept his or her passing and know that you’re going to be okay?
Losing someone we love is so painful. We can never be fully prepared for such a significant loss in our lives. People often associate grief with shock and sadness, but it also comes with feelings of anger, guilt and hopelessness. You may also vacillate between feeling numb and in denial one moment, only to be consumed with intense and even volatile emotions the next. You might play the details of your loved one’s death or final conversations – and the things you wish you had said, but didn’t – over and over in your mind, making it hard to stay present and connected to the people around you. Your eating and sleeping patterns may have changed, or maybe you’re experiencing other physical symptoms, such as stomach and headaches, restlessness or nightmares. You may not want company, but also fear being alone. You might just feel deeply sad.
No One Is Immune From Grief
Grief is a profound, universal experience. And while we all experience grief, the process is deeply personal and everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. That said, we live in a fast-paced society, and although people say they understand – and many do – we often are still expected to grieve within a certain timeframe and return to life and all of our responsibilities as usual. You may be trying to put on a brave face so you can show others that you are fine, but underneath it all, you feel heartbroken, angry or very lonely.
Receiving some extra support and guidance from a professional can help you to accept and honor your loss and work through grief. An experienced and compassionate counselor can help you decrease feelings of isolation, give you a safe place to share your experience and provide you with the support you need to process your grief in a healthy, nourishing way.
Grief Counseling Can Help You Heal
During our work together, I can help you explore your feelings and understand them as a normal, healthy and a very essential part of grieving. Allowing feelings to surface is an important part of the healing process, although so many of us try to block out or ignore the painful emotions that accompany grief. While it can feel challenging at first, sharing your thoughts, feelings and experiences with another person in this context can bring so much relief. This is a space where you do not have to be “on” or strong for others. You can learn to let go of the image that you might be trying so hard to keep up for others and learn how to be really good to yourself.
It is important not to try to rush the process. You can allow yourself the time to express the emotions, thoughts, regrets or challenges you are experiencing and how your loss is impacting your wellbeing and life. We can work through any unresolved feelings you have, as well as discuss the existential questions that often arise when we lose someone we love.
I can also help you discover healthy ways to cope with stress and pain, as well as create a structure that helps you regain control of your life. Engaging in proper self-care and connecting with others and asking for help when you need it can make a big difference in how you process and heal.
You don’t have to continue to try to navigate this difficult time on your own. With a little guidance and support, you can come to a place of greater acceptance. You can find ways to keep your loved one alive in your heart and honor his or her memory rather than staying in such a painful or lonely place. And, you will heal. With time, self-compassion and gentle support, you can find your way back to a life filled with purpose, direction and fulfillment.
Although you may be struggling and in need of support, you still might have questions or concerns about grief counseling…
I feel so lost right now. I’m not sure that anything – even counseling – could help.
Many people experience symptoms of anxiety and depression following a loss, and have a tendency to lose hope for the future. Although it may seem like you’ll never feel better, you will. With time and support, you will get through this challenging time. Through grief counseling, you will have the opportunity to talk through the thoughts and feelings that are causing you to feel hopeless and lost. Oftentimes, sharing your experience with another can come with significant relief.
I’m afraid that talking about my grief will make me feel even worse.
After a loss, we often want to bury or numb our pain. But, in order to heal, it’s important to really feel your feelings. Sometimes we have to work through the pain to come out on the other side. We will only explore your painful feelings at a pace that feels comfortable for you. If you’re not quite ready to talk in depth about your loss, we can take the opportunity to discuss other issues in your life that are significant to you. Our work together can allow you to experience your feelings a bit easier and therefore be better able to cope with your pain.
I’m afraid that if I let go of my grief, I’ll lose connection with my loved one.
Counseling through the grieving process is never about an effort to lose that deep connection you’ve had with the person you have lost. Rather, it is about helping you process difficult feelings and truly honor them. You can learn how to keep your loved one alive within you while also finding joy and satisfaction in your life again.
Please feel free to reach out.
If you think you could benefit from the support of a skilled, genuinely caring therapist, I welcome you to reach out to me by phone for a free 15-minute consultation. I’m happy to discuss your specific needs and to answer any questions you have about grief counseling and my practice.